Hispanic Heritage Week: MoMA Helps Preserve Latin American Collections Across City
According to a 2008 U.S. Census survey, there are more than three million people of Hispanic descent in the city, and with that, comes an artistic legacy and heritage that needs to be preserved. NY1's Rebecca Spitz filed the following report.
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In 2003, the Metropolitan New York Library Council subcontracted the Museum of Modern Art's library to index and catalog institutions showcasing Latino and Latino American artists. The project, which took three years to complete, was aimed at identifying and taking inventory of those museum's archives and to establish a network.
"You can imagine what the kinds of materials that we ran into. Some organizations were very organized, some others were not so but we used it as an opportunity to help the organizations come up with plans to actually re-house, preserve and protect their materials," said MoMA Chief of Library/Archive Milan Hughston.
Hughston says as a result of this survey, three institutions were able to get money to process and promote their archives, including the Bronx Museum of the Arts.
"I think it opens doors to collectors who might not see us as a place to donate work to. I think it's very important. It's an area of real growth and interest and it's great to be part of this list," said Bronx Museum of the Arts Executive Director Holly Block.
MoMA says most of the works in its archive have been integrated into its collections or are in storage, including photographs of a 1970s installation by Puerto Rican artist Rafael Ferrer, who created a giant ice sculpture in the MoMA garden in July.
"You can imagine how this exhibition melted in the course of a few hours so the artist and the museum were very intent on documenting the actual event itself so not only was the artwork fugitive at that time but it was a really great piece of conceptual art," Hughston said.
For more information on the survey, visit www.moma.org/learn/resources/latino_survey/index.